Studying abroad may be one of the most challenging, rewarding, and eye-opening experiences of your college career! You will enjoy your time abroad more fully if you prepare for your trip abroad by familiarizing yourself with current travel information for your local area, reviewing general travel health and safety tips, understanding the local culture and culture shock symptoms, and creating a budget for your trip.

Health & Wellness Abroad

Medical Insurance

All WCCCSA study abroad students are required to have insurance that will help cover their medical costs in case of an accident or injury while overseas. Most programs have the medical insurance fees included in the program fees, while some short-term programs require separate payment for insurance. Please review the details of your insurance coverage before your program departure date.

Vaccinations & Immunizations

Each country can set its own vaccination and immunization requirements for tourists and other visitors (including COVID-19 vaccine requirements). You will receive instructions about these entry requirements once you have been accepted to a specific study abroad program.

Health & Wellness Abroad Web Resources

Safety Abroad

Your safety while abroad is our top priority. Resources for safety and security while abroad:

Culture Shock & Adjustment

As kids growing up we naturally learn and follow the behaviors and beliefs of our own culture(s) – mostly subconsciously. It feels “normal” and comfortable to be surrounded by our own culture because that’s what we are familiar with. When we are transplanted into another culture, we experience culture shock: the normal, but unpleasant and negative, experience of disorientation in a new and unfamiliar cultural environment. 

Culture Shock Symptoms

Common symptoms of culture shock include both physical and emotional changes, including:

  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Crying
  • Boredom/lack of interest in things
  • Anger
  • Homesickness

More serious symptoms that may signal a need for outside support:

  • No appetite or overeating
  • Excessive drinking
  • Extreme lack of cleanliness or obsession with cleaning
  • Severe depression 

Culture Shock Adjustment Strategies & Support

  • Research: Do research about the new country and culture before you go – this helps you develop reasonable expectations for your new host culture.
  • Connect: Get to know people in the new country to start adjusting quickly to the new culture.
  • Share: Identify a few people (a local, a classmate, faculty, etc.) who you trust to share about your experiences and feelings in the new culture. 
  • Access Resources: Reach out to program staff and faculty for help connecting with additional support resources if you are experiencing more serious or prolonged culture shock symptoms.
  • Believe in yourself! With an open mind and positive attitude you will be able to adjust to the new culture! Be patient with yourself and trust that feelings of culture shock will decrease and improve over time.

Study Abroad Budgeting

There are four main study abroad expenses to budget for: tuition fees, program fees, airfare (if not included in program fees) and miscellaneous personal expenses. Each study abroad program is unique, so you will need to review the program information carefully to determine which expenses are covered and which are not covered in the program fees. Talk with your campus study abroad coordinator and the WCCCSA program lead for more details about the anticipated expenses for your study abroad program and tuition.

Most students will use a combination of personal and family savings, financial aid, and scholarships to pay for the costs of studying abroad. Visit WCCCSA’s financial aid and scholarships page for additional information about funding your study abroad trip.

International Flight Options & Resources

For your study abroad program your international flight will be arranged in one of three ways:

  1. Group flight included – The flight is included in your program fees. Everyone flies together out of Sea-Tac airport (unless you opt out of the group flight).
  2. Group flight optional – A seat on a group flight is an available add-on, for an extra fee. The group flight can only be offered if enough students sign up for this option by a particular deadline (usually a few weeks before the final program application deadline).
  3. Independent travel – Students find and book their own flight to the study abroad destination. You will be given details for when to arrive (date and time window) and which airport to fly into.

Flight Resources

Travel Guidebooks & Websites